Chewin' the Gristle


Hello Gristlers! and welcome to Chewin’ the Gristle, the week’s political bits that we found hard to swallow.


This week has been an exciting one for Qantas executives when it was announced that they would share in a $90million-odd windfall if the private equity deal goes through. It got The Gristle thinking that Geoff Dixon must be doing a bit of singing at the moment. In his mind, though, the words may be subtly different:

I’ve been paid bonuses that would make you fall down,
Shifted jobs to Singapore and New Delhi town,
But I think I might buy a new Harbourside home
If I can get the private equity deal home.

Now, The Gristle would like to make it clear that the above is in no way intended to represent any kind of boycott of Qantas. This is important to note because Peter ‘The Man Who Walks Alone’ Costello has been out hunting wabbits PETA Wabbits, in fact. The Man Who Walks Alone has had enough of this animal rights organisation bagging our farmers about the practice of mulesing sheep and has decided that this ‘free speech’ thing has gone a little too far.

From now on, activist groups who organise boycotts of Australian companies will be in the eye of the ACCC. Similar to mulesing, this can be seen as metaphorically removing a bit of skin from between the legs of activist organisations The Man Who Walks Alone doesn’t agree with. This should greatly increase corporate efficiency by saving organisations like Gunns from having to use their own resources to harass activists.

The good thing is that being an ‘ignorant celebrity’ will not be made illegal which should be comforting to Alexander ‘Too Freaky’ Downer.

Too Freaky was lamenting his lost days as an ignorant celebrity when asked about Kevin ‘Charlie Brown’ Rudd’s unprecedented results in the polls:

Well I’m the person to ask. I was the Leader of the Opposition. I was enormously popular. I only hope Mr Rudd suffers the same fate that I did.

Can someone hand the Foreign Minister a tissue?

Still on our fearless Foreign Minister, Too Freaky was caught on the hop this week after Britain decided to withdraw some of its troops from Basra. It should be noted that Too Freaky did clarify that it wasn’t a ‘withdrawal’:

Reduction is that it’s to reduce the numbers; it’s not to withdraw them all. It’s to withdraw some but to leave behind I’ll tell you what they are leaving behind they are leaving behind thousands of troops.

Clear as a bell. Give that man a thesaurus!

Thanks to Alan Moir

Still, whether it’s a withdrawal or a withdrawal-ette or a reduction or a strategic increase downward, this did not run so well for a Government that keeps saying that if Australia pulled its troops out of Iraq, it would give permission for the Yanks and the Poms to do the same. It must have come as a shock to our fearless leaders that Tony Blair didn’t need our permission after all!

But luckily, over the horizon, comes a small leaky boat chock full of Sri Lankan asylum seekers (or possibly terrorists who eat their own children, depending on your position). And before you can say ‘Tampa,‘ Kevin ‘Lego Man’ Andrews jumped straight into the breach to say that he wasn’t quite sure what to do, and would get back to us.

Since the ‘Pacific Solution’ has excised Christmas Island from our migration zone, the likely outcome seemed to be that the Sri Lankans would be processed there under the UNHCR. But it is an election year and this approach obviously struck the Lego Man as a little wishy-washy, so he came up with something a little firmer. None of this UNHCR palaver for Lego Man. He understands efficiency and he figured that ‘cutting out the middle man’ would make sense.

His plan was that we just ship the Sri Lankans back to Indonesia so that they can, in turn, summarily ship them back to Sri Lanka and the UNHCR can go hang. Unfortunately, this plan seems to have been foiled at the 11th hour by pesky red tape, the sort of red tape that Lego Man was so successful in eliminating during his reign over at the IR portfolio.

The Gristle believes that the Lego Man is holding back. If we are shooting for true efficiency, then maybe we should just shoot these leaky boats straight out of the water. Now, that’s cutting out the middle man! What are those RAN frigates up there for anyway?

Could make for some bitchin’ reality TV. We’re off to have a word with Eddie ‘Bone ’em’ Maguire and ask if that Here’s Humphrey slot is still up for grabs.

You can catch the Gristle on Radio 2SER 107.3 in Sydney or on the web at every Friday evening from 6:00 to 6:30.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.